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Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

  • It Inspired The First Instance Of Biological Warfare on Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

    (#6) It Inspired The First Instance Of Biological Warfare

    The Black Death allowed one Mongol warrior to use disease as a weapon on the battlefield. Janibeg was a Mongol military commander who inherited the empire left behind by Genghis Khan. In 1346, Janibeg wanted to take over the city of Caffa, a trade port on the Black Sea in Crimea. The Black Death, however, was depleting his ranks and making the prospect of conquering Caffa less and less likely.

    Janibeg came up with a thoroughly revolting plan to overcome this setback: he started catapulting his dead soldiers over Caffa's city walls. It worked: the people of Caffa fled to Italy, victims of the first known instance of biological warfare.

  • It Gave Us The Grim Reaper on Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

    (#4) It Gave Us The Grim Reaper

    Metalheads and Halloween lovers have the Black Death to thank for the popular image of death as a "Grim Reaper." The widespread death and disease changed the visual arts of the time to focus more on death and dying, to a macabre degree. Death became personified in the form of the scythe-toting Grim Reaper, a menacing figure that preyed upon the rich and the poor equally.

    The Black Death helped people to realize that death truly is democratic.

  • It Paved The Way For The Theory Of Contagion on Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

    (#8) It Paved The Way For The Theory Of Contagion

    The Black Death helped the public at large to realize that "humors" weren't the cause of disease. Because so many people were getting violently ill and dying, the Greek concept of humors - four bodily fluids that controlled an individual's health - started to seem wildly unlikely (how are so many people experiencing this "imbalance" of fluids?).

    Instead, the theory of contagion began to be widely accepted, slowly but surely: it wasn't until 1546 that the medical establishment in Europe embraced the theory of contagion. The theory prevailed until Robert Koch's germ theory of the late 1800s.

  • It Hastened The Dominance Of The English Language on Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

    (#10) It Hastened The Dominance Of The English Language

    It would be a stretch to say that we would all still be speaking Latin if it wasn't for the Black Death, but historians do think that the plague hastened the dominance of English. The Black Death killed a "disproportionate number of the clergy," meaning it killed a lot of men who were literate in Latin.

    Who replaced them? A lot of laymen barely literate in Latin, who also just so happened to be barely literate in English.

  • It Helped Create The Middle Class In England on Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

    (#11) It Helped Create The Middle Class In England

    Most people alive in England at the time of the Black Death were peasants. Following the Black Death, there were a whole lot fewer peasants left, meaning they could - in the words of one historian - be a lot more "choosy about where they worked" and more expensive to procure. Those remaining peasants thus accumulated the wealth of those who died and were better off than before, leading ultimately to the rise of the middle class.

    The Black Death essentially gave peasants a lot more leverage in how they related to the upper classes.

  • It Gave Rise To The Birth Of The English Pub As We Know It Today on Random Ways Black Death Directly Shaped Way We Live Now

    (#2) It Gave Rise To The Birth Of The English Pub As We Know It Today

    The culture of the English pub can be traced directly back to the Black Death, according to one historian. Professor Robert Tombs from Cambridge University says that wages rose and prices fell following the plague, allowing working people easier access to beer. Pubs sprang up to accommodate the demand, sparking English pub culture.

    Brewers could operate full-time thanks to the "greater freedom and prosperity" for the working class in the wake of the Black Death.

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About This Tool

In the past 2000 years, the Black Death has repeatedly erupted, causing millions of deaths and changing the course of history. Each outbreak has intensified people’s fear of the next outbreak. The Black Death is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia, which parasitizes fleas on mice. The Black Death in the 14th-century killed more than a quarter of the European population in just 5 years. 

After the plague struck, people found that prayer and repentance were powerless when suffering from the disease. People began to think independently and explore nature and science. The random tool lists 14 ways how the Black Death directly changed our lifestyle.

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